State Sen. Ted Kanavas (R-Brookfield) is either incredibly ignorant or is deliberately lying. Maybe he is just dyslexic and can't read budget documents.
Whatever his problem, the press release he issued Monday about the Zoo Interchange grossly misstates the facts about what Gov. Doyle proposed and what the Democrats in the Senate did with that proposal.
Untruth No. 1: "I was pleased to learn the Zoo Interchange reconstruction project was fully funded in the Governor’s 2007-2009 state budget....Senate Democrats cut funding..."
Doyle never, ever fully funded Zoo Interchage reconstruction in his budget proposal. He couldn't, because nobody knows how much it will cost, except that it will be a lot. The governor proposed $24 million for environmental and engineering studies related to future reconstruction of the Zoo Interchange. That money still is there. Neither the Democratic Senate nor the Republican Assembly removed it.
Untruth No. 2: Senate Democrats, Kanavas writes, also "restricted the ability to expand the Interchange" and "they want to specifically prohibit adding lanes to the Zoo Interchange, a move that renders the project useless (although still expensive). Not one Democrat is the State Senate, including Senators representing Waukesha and Milwaukee Counties, objected to this decision."
It could be that no one objected because there was, in fact, no move to prohibit expansion of the Zoo Interchange. (If there had been, I would have been the first to stand up and cheer.) What happened is this: the governor proposed that WisDOT be granted authority to go ahead and expand the Zoo Interchange if that's what the road-builders at WisDOT wanted to do. There was no money attached to the authority, though.
The governor was just a tad premature in his desire to give this go-ahead to the ever-poorly-managed and wasteful WisDOT -- after all, not a single study related to the Zoo project has been completed, there is no cost estimate for the work, and there is certainly no funding plan. The Dems simply indicated a desire to have further consideration of the project's scope, costs and impacts. Kanavas is really objecting fiscal discipline and responsibility. Looks like he is just another tax-and-spend Republican.
Kanavas really thinks rebuilding aging infrastructure is "useless" unless it is made bigger? Even after the Minnesota bridge collapse? He's probably the only one in America, besides George Bush, so hesitant to change his mind when presented with facts that contradict his opinion.
The Senate did add language to the budget that would prohibit expansion of a stretch of I-94 well east of the Zoo Interchage project area, on the portion of the freeway that abuts historic Wood National Cemetery.
When the proponent of a proposal has to prevaricate to sell the proposal, it's probably a good idea to take a long hard look at both the project and the proponent. In the end, it is very possible that neither has much to recommend it to the public.